The Two Adams
by James Jacob Prasch
Many places in the Old Testament speak of the resurrection. Job, when he was a dying man,
said, “Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God; whom I my-self shall behold, and whom my eyes shall see.” (Job 19:26-27).
And the prophet Daniel said there would be a resurrection, some to judgment and everlasting contempt, and some to glory and blessing (Daniel 12:1-3).
Paul the Apostle was a disciple of some one called Rabbi Gamaliel in Jerusalem. This Rabbi Gamaliel is very important in Judaism. The Talmud says he was such a great and holy Rabbi that, when he died, righteousness perished from the earth.
In the book of Acts we read about Rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 5:34-39). This famous Rabbi said that, if Jesus were not the Messiah of the Jews, then the faith of the Christians would perish.
There were many false messiahs and many claiming to be the Messiah. They all came and went. They established movements but they all disappeared. Rabbi Gamaliel told us in the book of Acts that, if Jesus were not the Messiah, Christianity would disappear. But it did not disappear.
This Rabbi Gamaliel was the grandson of another very famous Rabbi called Rabbi Hillel. There were two kinds of Pharisees: those who studied in the yeshiva of Rabbi Gamaliel, in what is known as ‘the School of Hillel,’ and the other was the ‘School of Shammai.’ In this school of Hillel, which was being run in Paul’s time by Rabbi Gamaliel, there were a number of very famous classmates. One was called Rabbi Onkelos, who did a translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Aramaic called theTargum Onkelos.
Then there were two other classmates. One was called Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai. It was he who began Rabbinic Judaism and replaced the temple with the synagogue.
Daniel the prophet said that the Messiah would have to come and die before the Second Temple would be destroyed. (We read about this in the Talmud.) That temple was destroyed in 70 AD, something Jesus predicted would happen in Matthew 24 and Luke 21.
Whoever the Messiah was, He had to come and die before 70 AD. Not only that but, according to Isaiah, He had to cause the Gentiles to believe in the Jewish God. Not only that but, according to Micah, He had to be born in Bethlehem. The Talmud explains that each of these prophecies is speaking of the Messiah. Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai recognized that they had a problem. The Jewish religion, as Moses gave it to them, could not be practiced any more because there was no more temple. They decided to make another religion, which is called ‘Rabbinic Judaism.’
About three hundred years later Constantine did the same thing with Christianity. Instead of the Jewish Christianity that Jesus gave and the apostles taught, they paganised and Hellenised it; they made another religion, replacing the original faith of the gospels. Now there was a ‘Christianity’ that was no longer biblical, which became organizations like Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, as well as a Judaism which was no longer Biblical.
The resurrection of the dead
But Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai had another classmate, Rabbi Shaul of Tarsus, who we call Paul the Apostle. He hated Christians and persecuted them until God appeared to him.
Paul asked, “Who are you?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5).
And, like Daniel, Paul talks about the resurrection: So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body (1 Corinthians 15:42).
Someday our bodies are going to be sown into the earth, but they will come out as something different.
It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power [just like the body of Jesus]; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body .
So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul.’ The last Adam became a life giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.
The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.
And just as we have born the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable (1 Corinthians 15:43-50).
There are two Adams. As far as God is concerned there are only two men who have ever existed, Adam and Jesus – the first Adam and the second Adam. Every other human being who has ever lived, or ever will live, is either part of the first Adam, or part of the second Adam.
Adam and the body of Jesus were both created by God, directly and personally. They were both created without sin. They did not have a fallen nature.
The first Adam was tempted and fell. King David later said, “In sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). In the same way as we genetically pass on our physical traits to our offspring, so sin is transmitted. We have a fallen nature. We are all born of the first Adam.
In order to escape the judgment of God, in order not to have to pay the price for our own sins, in order to live forever, we have to be born of the second Adam.
What Rabbi Shaul of Tarsus is doing here is called ‘midrash.’ It is the way Jewish people interpreted the Scripture.
There are seven rules of interpreting the Bible that came from Rabbi Gamaliel. The first rule is called kal de homer. It literally means, “light to heavy.” Something that applies in a general situation applies in a specific situation or, if something is true in a light situation, it is true in a heavy situation.
The second rule is called binyan ab m’shne ketubim, building a theological argument from two passages.
Rabbi Shaul of Tarsus is taking those two midroth [rules of interpretation] and using them to interpret Adam.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”
And the woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.'”
And the serpent said to the woman, “You surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings (Genesis Chapter 3:1-7).
We have to understand what is happening here. The serpent is a seducer and representative of Satan’s nature as a spiritual seducer.
The serpent was already in the garden. When God created Adam and Eve, He told them to subdue the earth.
The world had not fallen yet, but Satan was somehow on the loose and had to be subdued. Adam and Eve were to subdue it. So, they were to know that evil existed, but they were not to know it in themselves as part of their own nature.
No imperfections, but not yet perfected
If you had a little baby, a few days old, and the little baby was perfectly healthy, that is good.
There is nothing wrong with the baby, but the baby is not perfected yet. The baby has to grow up. The baby has no imperfections, but it is not perfected yet. That is the way Adam and Eve were, they had nothing wrong with them, but they were not perfected yet. The way they were to be perfected was to eat of the Tree of Life and live forever as God’s children and take on God’s nature.
Instead, they chose to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and tried to become gods themselves, independent of God, which is what Satan did before the creation. He seduced them into doing what he did. The very things Adam and Eve wanted – dominion, power, life – God was going to give them anyway, but without sin. So the first Adam and the first Eve wasted their opportunity!
Symbols of us
This whole thing is a symbol. Remember that Jesus is the second Adam. Adam is the symbol of Jesus and Eve is a symbol of Israel and, by extension, of the church. The serpent will always try to attack Jesus through His woman, the church. The first Adam blew it. How did it happen? The tree was good for food. a delight to the eyes. desirable to make one wise(Genesis 3:6).
Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world (1 John 2:15) She saw it was: good for food – the lust of the flesh, a delight to the eyes – the lust of the eyes,desirable to make one wise, the boastful pride of life.
The first Adam blew it.
As a result all the rest of us have been born with a fallen, Adamic nature – the nature of the flesh.
That is why flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50). It is fallen.
There has to be a second Adam to undo the mistake of the first Adam. And that is what God promised.
A second Adam
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. [That seed, the Rabbis tell us, is the Messiah.]; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise Him on the heel (Genesis 3:15)
The Messiah would be bruised on the heel. The serpent would slay Him but He would rise from the dead. But the Messiah would then crush the serpent’s head and destroy the serpent.
Be careful of the Kingdom Now people, the Dominionists. They say that the church will be triumphant and will crush the serpent’s head. That is not what the Bible says. It is not the woman who destroys the serpent’s head. It is the seed of the woman – the Messiah. Kingdom Now theology is another trick of the devil to make us think we can be like God. It is a form of spiritual seduction. There are many sincere Christians involved in it, but it is very dangerous and totally false.
Temptation in the Wilderness
Now, where does Paul get this “second Adam” stuff? He does it with Midrash. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name (Genesis 2:19).
Here, in Genesis, Adam was alone with all the animals.
And immediately the Spirit impelled Him [Jesus] to go out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts. (Mark 1:12-13).
Midrash builds a theological argument from two texts. Mark chapter 1 repaints the picture in Genesis. The first Adam was alone with the animals. Now the second Adam is alone with the animals.
What happened with the first Adam? The lust of the flesh – good for food, the lust of the eyes – a delight to the eyes, the boastful pride of life –desirable to make one wise.
What did Satan try on Jesus?
“If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread”(Matthew 4:3). In the wilderness of Judah east of Jerusalem, there are round rocks that look just like round loaves of bread. McDonald’s might be junk food, but by the time you finish a seven-day fast, it may as well be a gourmet restaurant!
Why? The lust of the flesh. The devil took Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things will I give You, if You fall down and worship me”(Matthew 4:8-9).
Why? The lust of the eyes – that avenue through which the riches and beauty of the world inflame us.
Also Satan took Him to the pinnacle of the Temple, and said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will give His angels charge concerning You’; and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone’ ” (Matthew 4:6).
Why? The sinful pride of life – the presumption that He could make a public show of His Father’s care for Him!
God become man
The things Satan did to the first Adam, he tried to do to the second Adam. He tricked the first Adam. As a result, we were all born with a fallen nature. But the second Adam did not give place to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes or the boastful pride of life. Jesus was God become man.
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
Jesus could have done any of those miracles, but He only did what He saw His Father doing.
Jesus did not walk on the Sea of Galilee because He was God.
He did not feed the five thousand because He was God. He could have, but He did not. He only did what the Holy Spirit did through Him.
He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant. (Philippians 2:6).
He limited Himself to the same things that limit us.
The works of Satan
The first Adam totally blew it, but now the Spirit drove the second Adam into a place where He was alone with the animals. And then along came the serpent.
The first thing Satan tried was the lust of the flesh. That did not work.
Then He tried the lust of the eyes. Then he tried pride. They did not work either. Notice that Jesus never questioned Satan’s authority. When Satan said, “All these are given into my hand,” Jesus didn’t question it. God gave dominion over the earth to man and we gave it to the devil. Jesus never questioned Satan’s authority.
The Bible says that the second Adam came that the works of Satan may be destroyed. He is going to take that authority back and return it back to us, to those who accept Him as the Messiah.
Most born-again Christians think that Jesus won the victory on the Cross and in the resurrection. That is true, but, if He did not go into the wilderness, put Himself in the same situation as the first Adam and overcome the temptation that the first Adam fell into, He would not have been qualified to go to the Cross. Jesus had to undo the damage that the first Adam did before He could go to the Cross and pay the price for our sins. One person without sin is worth more to God than all the people with sin. That is why the Passover Lamb had to be a lamb without blemish.
The problem is that, because we are all part of the first Adam, we have Adam’s sin. The second Adam did not have that sin. He could pay the price for our sins. When Jesus went to the Cross, He paid the price for my sin.
You are either in the first Adam or the second Adam. You are either part of the fallen race that you were born into, or you are part of the saved race that you are born again into.
A new nature
Now, we all, Jew and Gentile, are descended from Adam. And Adam blew it. We all suffer from the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life. It is in our fallen nature, which is why we need a new nature.
For this perishable must put on the imperishable (1 Corinthians 15:53).
We need to get rid of the first Adam and put on the second Adam. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O grave, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55).
God actually mocks death. He calls death ‘an enemy’ and He mocks it, because Jesus, the second Adam, overcame it. The first Adam fell into it but the second Adam overcame it.
So God gives us a choice. Do you want to be part of the first Adam or do you want to be part of the second Adam? Do you want to be part of the Adam that is going to perish or do you want to be a part of the second Adam that is going to live forever in happiness, sharing God’s glory, sharing His love and His bounty and His blessing forever? Do you want to live your
life in fear of death?
The Bible says clearly, “It is appointed to man once to die and after that, the judgment.” And we are all guilty; we are all deserving of eternal damnation.
Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai
Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, the founder of Rabbinic Judaism was called “the mighty hammer” by his disciples. They came to him when he was on his deathbed and asked, “O mighty hammer, why are you weeping?”
He said, “I am about to meet HaShem, blessed be his name. Before me there are two roads: one leading to Gehenna and the other leading to Paradise. I do not know to which of these two roads HaShem will sentence me.”
Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai admitted that he had no assurance of salvation. That is recorded in the Talmud. But his classmate, Rabbi Shaul of Tarsus, when he was on his deathbed, said, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness (2 Tim. 4:7-8).
Every Jew is going to follow one of these two rabbis: one who had nothing but fear of standing before a holy God, and one who knew that the Messiah had paid the price for his sins.
The first Adam or the second? If you are born, you are part of the first Adam. The first Adam will perish and go to judgment. We will give account for all of our sins. But if you are born again you can escape the wrath to come. “Save yourself from this perverse generation.”
Do you want to be part of the first Adam or do you want to be part of the second Adam? Do you want to perish or do you want to have eternal life?
That is God’s offer.
A Father’s love
I love our children so much that there is nothing I would not do for them. When my daughter Batmiel had a fever, I stayed up all night monitoring her temperature because she is my daughter.
If, God forbid, something was to happen to our children, and they had some disease, there is nothing we would not do to see my children’s lives saved. God created the kind of love you have for your children to teach you how much He loves us, and that there is nothing He would not do to save us.
But we all have a terrible disease that is killing us, that is going to put us into eternal hell. The disease is called ‘sin.’ God has one remedy. He said, “Man-kind has failed because of Adam, but I am going to raise up a nation called Israel, and through that nation I am going to give my Word and send my Son. He will save mankind and bring them back to me.
Unfortunately, most of us do not want to return. Most of us are following the serpent and prefer living in fear of the grave to living in triumph over it.
The price has been paid
God has given us a choice. Before the Messiah, who knew no sin, was nailed by the Romans to the cross – betrayed by the religious leaders of his own people – God knew that would happen. Jesus was prepared to pay the price for your sin and for my sin, for every wrong thing we ever did.
The price has been paid.
It is like someone offering you a three week holiday in Hawaii that would cost ten thousand dollars. And you said, “I can’t spend ten thousand dollars.” But they say, “It has already been paid; here it is.”
We rejected His love
The cure for the disease is already here. Jesus was nailed to the cross for your sins and for mine.
What do we have to do? We have to realize that, like Adam, we are separated from God because of our sin. We have all rebelled against Him. We have rejected His love.
Secondly, we have to ask Him to come into us and make us part of the second Adam. It is called “being born again.” He will put a new spirit inside you and make you His child.
For those who accept Him, their old nature, the first Adam, is nailed to the Cross with Jesus. Just as He rose from the dead, you will rise with Him. What God wants you to do is to ask Him to forgive you your sins, and for you to give your life to Him.
Once you do that, God will begin to change you and make you into a new person. He wants you to meet with other believers. He wants you to pray and talk to Him. He wants you to read His Word and live by it. He will show you how to live by it. And He wants you to tell other people about what He has done for you.
Making the choice
But what you have to do now is to make a choice. Do you want to be part of the first Adam or part of the second Adam?
Do you want to live in fear of the grave or to live in triumph over it? Do you want a personal relationship with the Messiah?
If you do, just say this prayer. God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, I know that you love me.
I know that I have not loved You and that I have done many evil things against You and against others.
I do not want to be the way I am, but I am the way I am and I know you love me anyway. Because you love me, you hate what I am and You hate what I do.
Thank You that you sent Your Son, the Messiah Jesus, to pay the price. Please make me born-again. I accept You as the Ruler of my life. Wash me with Your blood and make me Your child. Lord God, I ask You to save me, in the Name of Your Son the Messiah.
It is very simple. You are either in the first Adam or the second.